Just two years after a fascinating semifinal between Murray & Wawrinka, another unusual clay-court five-set semifinal consisted of three tight sets… Djokovic  for the third time in his career lost in his speciality – 5th set after reaching the ‘5-all’ scoreline # This defeat is arguably the tightest among those three, because he was relatively close to win 2 out of 3 lost sets. The first 2.5 sets were played in very difficult, windy conditions. Djokovic was very poor, completely out of balance until 1-all (15/40) in the 2nd set when he survived the double break point with two serve-and-volley actions and improved afterwards (he needed 9 games to hit his first winner!). The match was suspended on Friday with Thiem leading *3:1 in the 3rd set and continued on Saturday with heavy, but slightly better conditions. The sets 3 & 5 had quite similar progress: Thiem won them both 7-5, leading 4:1* earlier. In the 3rd set he saved two mini-set points at 4-all (the first one with a dropshot after two overheads; 23-stroke rally). In the 4th set the Austrian came back from a break down twice, and was three points away from the final at 5:4* (15/0). In the decider he had already a mini-match point at 4:1 when the Serb saved it with a forehand winner. The match was suspended again, they came back to the court to finish in sunny conditions. Djokovic saved another vital break point with a service winner and broke back, but Thiem broke too and held match points at 5:3 (40/15) after two service winners – the match points quickly evaporated as Thiem made two backhand errors after Djokovic’s returns. The best player in the world had two game points to hold for 6-all, but made mistakes and Thiem converted his third match point with a powerful forehand.
# Comparison of Djokovic’s defeats in tight 5th sets:
French Open ’13 (SF): Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-9… 4 hours 37 minutes… Total points: 158-177… 6 pts away (at *4:3, deuce)
Aussie Open ’14 (QF): Wawrinka 6-2, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-9… 4 hours 0 minutes… Total points: 161-153… 6 pts away (at 6:6, 30-all)
French Open ’19 (SF): Thiem 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 5-7… 4 hours 13 minutes… Total points: 159-167… 8 pts away (at 5-all)
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